What Type of Wireless Network is Right for You?

Each type of wireless network is unique and has its own benefits for different applications and communication needs.  It’s easy to just click a mouse and have access to the Internet (unless of course you have my ISP), but for businesses who want to succeed in the wireless world, the decision is much more important.  Businesses need to be sure they’re using the appropriate type of wireless network so they can increase productivity, retain customers and lower operating costs.  With the evolution of technology, more varieties of wireless networks are emerging, but there still remains a few standard networks that I’d like to go over with you now.

LAN (Local Area Network)- A wireless LAN is basically the linking of two or more computers to one another without wires.  WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) enables communication between computers or devices in a limited area which allows users to move around, but still have access to the network.  In addition to providing mobility, users can send data, capture data, access the Internet and access the corporate intranet.  Wireless LANs are currently the most common type of wireless network because of benefits such as:

  • Increased Productivity– because it can be accessed at any site location, users can maintain a nearly constant connection with their desired network.
  • Convenience– Users can access the network from home or office, and with the increasing use of laptops this kind of convenience is very desirable.
  • Mobility– The emergence of public wireless networks has added even more convenience and mobility to a LAN, allowing users to access the network from areas outside of work and home (such as coffee shops).
  • Expandability– LANs offer easier network expansion than in a wired network, often not requiring any new equipment or wiring.  This coupled with the ability to adapt in a rapidly changing technological environment make wireless networks very desirable for companies evolving with the latest technology.

PAN (Personal Area Network)-A WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) is based on Bluetooth, a technology that transfers voice and data using radio frequency technology.  PANs are perfect for mobile professionals who do business at home, on the road or from the office.  PANs allow users to link laptops, mobile phones, PDAs and other hand-held devices to one another over a short range.  WPANs are ideal for users that require the convenience of having all of their devices interconnected and communicating while also providing access to networks and the Internet.  It benefits also include:

  • Synchronization from device to device
  • Devices are easy to use once they’ve been assigned and authorized for the PAN, devices also have the ability to selectively block out unauthorized devices
  • Data is consistent across devices
  • Because it’s based on the Bluetooth standard, it provides compatible data and devices
  • Lower cost of ownership with fewer cabling and network appliances needed

WAN (Wide Area Network)-The most universal WAN is the Internet.  Wireless WANs utilize digital mobile phone systems to access and send information from any location in close proximity to a cell tower connected to a data-enabled network.  Mobile computing devices use a mobile phone as a modem and can receive and send information from a network, a corporate intranet, or the Internet.  WANs are ideal for mobile professionals who require wide range access.  It enables communication from hotels and airports, allowing users to stay connected to their corporate LAN even on business trips.  Other benefits of WANs include:

  • Rapid information sharing on critical projects because of wide range access
  • Easy public access to e-mail, the Internet and corporate intranets
  • Improved communication between associates over long distances
  • Lower costs over standard methods of long distance communication

MAN (Metropolitan Area Network)-A wireless MAN network connects several wireless LANs together to form a network of its own.  They usually span a larger geographical area than a LAN, typically the size of a city, hence the name.  An example of this type of network is WiMAX, you can read more about WiMAX and it’s benefits in my post Recent WiMAX Venture Has Many Wondering if The Wireless Revolution Has Arrived.

As technology changes your company must be able to adapt in order to survive, making wireless networking fundamental to your businesses success.  If you need more information on how wireless networks can improve your business or what type of wireless network is right for you please contact me.